Club Update: October 9, 2020

Dear Member,

This is your Captain’s log update for October 9, 2020, reporting from the bridge of the Club at 750 University Avenue. I want to thank the many members who wrote to me and expressed both their concerns and their appreciation for what the Club has been doing this past week regarding the recent positive tests for COVID-19 within the Club community. I have not communicated mid-week with an update because of the need to prioritize action and information over more immediate communication. My apologies to those of you who have so eloquently expressed your frustration. I wish I could have done better by everyone, but I couldn’t. (I don’t know who decided to build and open this facility during a pandemic, but they need a serious reprimand.) Your first update is below. Additional information is soon to follow offering more detailed information regarding the Club’s action plan moving forward. That update will then get posted on the Club website without the new facility’s opening protocol.

COVID-19 Update
New COVID-19 Safety Officer
Cheri Rigby, RN, has been hired as a COVID-19 Safety Officer for the Club. The idea for this position has been tossed around since late mid-summer, but took a backseat to getting the facility opened and up and running. Cheri is an experienced, registered nurse with a special interest in community health. She is also a longtime Club member from the 1970’s, and understands the Club community and the sport, including all of its disciplines and the special challenges offered by team sports. Cheri is diligent, she has integrity, and she genuinely cares about the Club and our community. She has begun work already, and can be reached at cheri.rigby@scboston.org. I would wait to reach out to her though, until the Club’s next COVID-19 Safety document is published over the holiday weekend. That may answer even more of your questions.

Club Procedures for Community Members Testing Positive
As communicated last week, a Club coach tested positive for the virus. That coach immediately quarantined once they felt symptomatic and before they were tested. They also notified the Club immediately and followed all requested protocols. The Club coach contact-traced all folks with whom they had close contact while at the Club, including any individuals with whom they were in close contact with at the Boston Open. (Remember that ‘close contact” is defined as prolonged interaction with an individual or individuals with masks off and in close proximity.) Contacted folks removed themselves from the Club until they got tested. Fortunately, no one else from this individual’s contact list has tested positive. Another coach at a Skating Academy campus outside of Norwood also tested positive. They too immediately quarantined. Contract tracing was also followed and no positive cases have been reported from anyone in this coach’s network. Finally, a skater tested positive on one of the synchronized skating teams that skate at the Club. The team also took all prescribed steps and immediately stopped skating at the Club. Skaters on the team quarantined and got tested. The team will be off the ice for two weeks, but the individual skaters have been allowed to return to the ice once they have tested negative. Last, an individual skater who was asymptomatic also tested positive yesterday. They had gotten tested as part of a routine procedure at their school. The family contacted Cheri and the same procedures for contact tracing were followed, with the coaches who had worked with the skater all getting tested this morning. A huge and heartfelt thank you to all of these individuals for being responsible and caring about the skating community as much as themselves. We wish them the best as they quarantine and work through their recovery.

Norwood Board of Health
We have reported all of these recent cases at the Club to our appointed contact at the Norwood Board of Health and reviewed our reporting procedures with them. They have approved of the Club’s handling of the situations, and asked to be notified of every case, including the town in which the infected individuals live. They in turn keep track, and connect with the Commonwealth to make sure information is consistent and timely across all organizations. Please know that the Norwood Board of Health has also spot toured the Club, and reviewed its procedures for entry, cleaning and member tracking. They have expressed their satisfaction with what the Club is doing.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
When an individual tests positive, the Commonwealth is also notified. They in turn reach out to the infected individual and solicit that individual’s contact list for their own tracing. It is a good backstop to the Club’s own procedures.

Member Privacy
There is zero shame in testing positive for COVID-19. It is a pernicious virus that judges no one and is everywhere. Still, the Club does not intend to release the name of anyone in our community who tests positive. It is too important that every single member, coach, and employee feel safe to honestly report to the Club if they test positive. Nothing works without that. It is the only way we can then contact trace, require individuals to quarantine and receive tests, and to stop the spread of the virus further. But we don’t need to provide names to the membership to do that, and we ask members to try and protect the confidentiality of individuals they may know who are positive unless they have been given approval by that individual. As I see it, it is not our information to share beyond those folks dedicated to keeping us safe. And as long as the Club continues to do its part to ensure contact tracing, quarantining, testing and a safe return to the Club, I hope trust will develop that the job is getting done. It serves absolutely no individual or the organization not to take this seriously.

Member Expectations
There is no question that the virus will continue to be introduced into the Club. We would be naive and reckless to think otherwise. We can’t control what every member does and where they go outside of the facility. But it is our intention to eliminate every opportunity for the virus to spread inside the Club. I think we can do that. It is an achievable goal if we all follow established procedures for mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing and common sense. But I think we all need to act as if everyone with whom we come in contact is positive. Aside from staying in your house and not allowing visitors or deliveries, it is the safest thing to do. Let’s all assume responsibility for ourselves in wearing our masks, social distancing and practicing smart hygiene.

Short-Term Good News
It is too early to say for certain, but early signs from the lack of immediate spread of the virus in the Club community are that all publicized measures for containing the spread of the virus are working. We will see by this time next week if no one who was part of the contact tracing for all these individuals has still not tested positive. But as of today, no one has. If so, it will be a good confirmation for us all to keep doing what we are doing with our safety protocols. A sign of some optimism in an otherwise challenging week with the virus.

Winter is Coming
Even though I loved the show, I hate writing that. But it is both prophetic and poetic. We are all moving indoors and into closer proximity when not at the Club. The opportunities for close contact and prolonged exposure are greater. Our challenge will be to continue to limit and stop the further spread of the virus in the small part of the world we have the opportunity to control. I did not write “can control” because it is actually hard to control so many individual members while on the Club property without turning into a military state. Young and old alike. I believe our immediate community is sincerely invested in our safety and success and just all need reminders on mask wearing and social distancing. The Club has immediately stepped up its reminders in both of these areas.

Immediate Reminders

  • Wear a mask
  • Wear your mask properly
  • Self-monitor for symptoms, and do not be in denial if you feel any symptoms
  • If you do feel symptomatic, respect yourself and everyone around you and immediately quarantine out of an abundance of caution
  • Consult your medical provider, and/or get immediately tested
  • Rapid tests are worthwhile for the immediate information they provide
  • If you are symptomatic and get a negative rapid result test, get a PCR test
  • If you do test positive, please contact Cheri Rigby immediately as part of your recovery protocol
  • The Club will proceed into action from there

More detailed information will be coming regarding all of the above.

Members in the Facility
Cheri has strongly recommended that this time, we do not increase the number of folks in the facility. It increases the opportunity for the virus also entering the facility, and the greater challenge in containing it if it does. I also think that we should see where we go with the next few weeks. There might be a way to pre-register or adopt some other way to help our members come in from the sidewalk. You are not being forgotten. But it is good for me anyway to have a medical professional review all my wild ideas.

New Notes on Norwood
Parking Lot Lights
We are still waiting for the 30’ light poles to be installed across the front of the building. We asked for the shorter poles to be installed in the meantime so as to get some sort of light on the front drive at night. The higher poles are planned to cover a wider area without blocking the front entrance. We will see once they are installed. But in the meantime, please drive slowly, keep your eyes wide open and do not hit any skaters crossing the drive. Thank you.

No U-Turns Please!
Even though the front drive is pretty wide, it was not designed for u-turns. Please drive past the building and drive around in the parking lot to come back out and across the front. You can use the east exit a little bit longer but soon there will be a gate there and turning around using the parking lot will be your only option. I know we are all from the Boston area and can navigate our vehicles through almost any situation. But turning around on an active drive with cars coming across, backing in and out of spaces and pedestrians crossing at all angles is just not smart or safe. Especially when other cars are attempting the same maneuver. It only takes one accident to make anyone wish they had taken the time to turn their vehicle around properly. Thank you!

New Components Class
The Saturday Components Class with Olga and Adam starts tomorrow from 9:00 am to 9:30 am. It will be taught in tandem with both Olga Ganicheva and Adam Blake working together for all Club skaters. I still can’t think of a better opportunity for all of our Club skaters to add an extra and very important element to their training. The class is open to every Club skater. Talk to your coach tonight and see what they think. These opportunities are pretty special and unique to the Club. Don’t take them for granted!

Sage Advice
With apologies, I have no wise or clever ending to my missive this week. Except to call back on an old 80’s TV show and ask everyone to be safe out there!

Sincerely,

Doug Zeghibe
Executive Director